Announcements for my standup comedy gigs are here at gregtito.com.
Saturday, December 30, 2006
So my new job starts on Tuesday. I'm a quiver with anticipation as I think it will give me the oppurtunity to post more here and write more often. My old job, as bad this sounds, was taking up too much of my time. The whole point of having a day job in front of a computer, IMHO, is so that I can work on the things I really care about while earning money from the man. The new job will be able to that much more efficiently. At least I hope so. It's hard to determine that during the interview process.
Interviewer- Do you have any questions for me?
Me- Um, will I be able to jerk off on the internet?
Interviewer- Yes. I do it all the time.
Tuesday, December 19, 2006
Of course, I'm just going from one corporate chump job to another but at least I'm doing it of my own free will. These a-holes were the first to hire me into this white slavery, and for that I thank them, but it's time I moved on from the lowest rung.
For posterity's sake, I am reprinting my resignation letter here. Ps. None of the names were changed to protect anyone. These are actually the fuckheads I work for.
*** Bedford Ave.
Brooklyn, NY 11211
The Bear and the Bull
Internal Audit Department
*** Park Ave
New York, NY 10022
December 19th, 2006
To Mr. Charles Fuckstick:
Please accept this letter as formal resignation of my position as administrative assistant with The Bear and the Bull's Internal Audit Department.
Friday, December 29th, will be my last day of employment with the company.
I want to thank you for the opportunity to work with such a magnificent organization of enlightened, supportive, and creative individuals. It is sad to leave, but you are all flaming ass-mongerers. Fuck you, I'm out.
Brent "I Touch Girls" Hamfist
Monday, December 18, 2006
On Saturday, I saw a band perform that has not forgotten that rock can be fun. Too much of our modern musical landscape is a dreary melancholic mess. There's really only so much that can be said about love unrequited or being cheated on.
They Might Be Giants have a few songs about that shit (I think), but most of their subjects are obscure references to 19th century presidents, Belgian painters or the classification of species.
I'll write more on the show later but for now, look at this monkey:
Wednesday, December 06, 2006
Anyway, here's what I wrote to apply to be a writer here in NY.
I love baseball. I grew up a Red Sox fan in the embroiled border state of Connecticut where half my peers remember 1986 with ectasy, the other half with despair. My family would take annual trips to Fenway, mostly at my insistence since neither of my forebears were very much into sports. I remember the feeling of the old Fenway, before the boxes and the Monster seats, with reverance and I still keep a special place in the cockle of my heart for anyone named Duey, or Marty, or Spike.
More recently, living in New York for the past six years has kept me on the front lines of the greatest rivalry in sports. I follow each game and hot stove rumor with the glee of a kid waiting for Christmas morning. And while I get to go to Fenway less often than I'd like, I have embraced the Mets as the lesser of the NY evil empires. Pedro's defection only made my affection for the Amazin's grow, despite Boston Dirt Dogs feeble cries for all Red Sox Nation to damn him. And now that the 20 year Anniversary season is past, it's time to let bygones get the hell out of dodge and start writing for MLB.com covering the Mets.
I've been a writer all my life. I've written videogame articles under deadlines for The Escapist Magazine and Next Generation, but nothing is as tight a deadline as performing stand up comedy here in New York as I have for the past 2 years. If you don't have material before you go on, you're screwed.
I'm excited to meet with you to discuss my credentials. Contact me via my cell, 917.***.****, or email me at ****@*****.***. Talk to you soon.
That job is mine!!!!!
Tuesday, November 07, 2006
That statement is completely false. Sometimes.
Confused? Me too. But that's what being a standup comic in NY is all about.
When I first started performing, I tried to go to at least one open mic a week. My standup buddy, who I will call Joni, because that's her real name, was very good about forcing me bully up. We'd go to places like the Village Lantern or the Comedy Cellar, get our names on a list and do our schtick. It was great getting stage time, with a real microphone in hand on a real stage in a real comedy club. There was also the chance to interact with others of my ilk.
But that was also the major drawback. The only people in the audience at open mics were other comics. And they are a notoriously jealous bunch. They don't laugh. At least most of the ones who were in the audience when I did my set didn't laugh. But I knew my jokes were at least a little funny, because I would do them in front of paying crowds at Caroline's or whatever and people would die. It got really frustrating. There was one especially awful night where I went last at a open mic at the Village Lantern and bombed riotously (I remember I had a whole bunch of subway jokes that should have KILLED), then met Joni at Joe's around the corner to do another open mic. I went on at midnight and bombed spectacularly again, with what I thought were my "good" jokes. All five of the dudes left in the club at that point just stared at me, blankly. They offered no support, other than their drunken, silent presence, which, frankly, didn't help me think I was very funny. Then after walking uptown fifteen blocks to the L train, only to find that it had shut down at midnight, I proceeded to shoot myself through the face. And then walk home over the Williamsburg Bridge. I got home at 2:37am, a bleeding, sobbing mess.
There was also the time issue. Open mics are a huge timesink. Even if you sign up ahead of time via email or whatever, you have no idea when you'll be able to go on. So you show up at 8, get on the list, and sometimes you're stuck there until 10 or 11 before you get your fucking 4 minutes. This can be a good thing, if the comics are good. It's possible they may even inspire a few jokes of your own. I laugh more than the average comic at other people's stuff. But more often than not, the sad morons who go up at these things are just trying to work out their personal problems, more than actually being funny. The time spent wading through amateur ventriloquists, lonely alcoholics and wannabe fratboys can be considerable. And with my serious World of Warcraft addiction, I don't have tons of time to waste.
So I stopped going. To open mics. I didn't feel like they really helped that much anyway. I decided to concentrate on doing bigger bringer shows every once in a while. This meant I was performing less, but the shows alway meant something.
Then last Monday, after my well documented bout of depression, I decided to go the Underground Lounge near Columbia, otherwise known as way too fucking far. I drank a shitload of coffee, wrote same new material about daylight savings time (HILARIOUS!) and drove up there.
I loved it. I felt like I was back in the swing again. Even my wife, Mephistopholes, she was like, "You go to one open mic and suddenly you're all happy again." I don't know if it was the fact that I was writing new material, or that I got to perform it and it wasn't awful, or that I felt like I was part of a scene, the sad comic scene. The other thing was that I wasn't nervous. In my comedy youth, I would get so frightfully nervous getting up in front of people, even open miccers, that I would shake or stutter on stage. But I memorized all my new jokes in an hour and didn't care if I got them right or not.
It was a great feeling.
I went back last night and I plan on doing more.
Friday, November 03, 2006
I think [atheists] are in the same position as the gay movement was in a few decades ago. There was a need for people to come out. The more people who came out, the more people had courage to come out. I think that's the case with atheists. They are more numerous than anybody realizes.Dawkins does have a point. People are often scared to say they are atheists, or considering atheism, because they don't want to potentially offend believers. My wife and my father have both said to me separately that I shouldn't make jokes about religion on stage. And I've noticed that people do get uncomfortable when I mock religion, even if they theyselves don't believe in it. It's effectively taboo to talk about belief in nothing. Why is that?
Consider this my outing. Now I'm off to go wax my butt and get a facial.
Tuesday, October 31, 2006
But what I'm feeling is different. I feel anxious or nervous for no real reason. I can try to figure it out, as most of what that post was trying to do. I'm definitely not happy with what I've done with my life, that's for sure. But someone else could look at my position and say, what the fuck? This guy's got nothing to be depressed about. I have a somewhat loving wife, a decent paying job, a good group of friends and a family who's mostly healthy. That's all true. And I know that, on some level, my life is probably pretty great. I try to tell myself that when I start to feel like shit. And while that used to work when I was younger, the power to rationalize away these feelings has dwindled to nil.
That's my problem.
Of course, today, I feel fine.
Friday, October 27, 2006
Joy. Consider me cured.
It's a little dorky and British and a tad bit too survey-based for my tastes, but it's interesting. The basic premise is that unhappy people interpret events and feelings with a negative bias and happy people interpret them with a neutral or positive bias. Which makes sense, I guess.
The weird thing with me is that I think I used to be pretty firmly in category B. Things didn't bother me, and, if something really bad did happen, I always seemed to think it was unchangeable so there was no point in worrying about it. I took criticisms well, or at least I ignored them, and that seemed to be ok. I was also genuinely happy with other people and was able to forge a strong group of friends.
What changed? I do not know.
Thursday, October 26, 2006
I can't pinpoint when it started happening. I don't think there was a specific event, although I could point at my production company dissolving 2 years ago as a big one. But then there's chicken and egg shit there. Did it all fall apart because of my self-doubt, guilt and depression or did those feelings appear because of its demise? Whatever.
The fact remains that I am 28 years old and I have accomplished nearly nothing since graduating from college. I've had a few bright spots here and there. I did this, I got this, I am one of these. But overall, I consider myself a failure. I didn't think 6 years out that I'd be in a nowhere job, pushing paper around in an industry that I care nothing about. I mean, I hate the business world. Wait, that's not true, I don't hate it. I just have no interest whatsoever. People meantion stocks, bonds, derivatives, risk management, confirmations, audit reports and I have no idea what they are saying. It's like they open their mouths and huge logs of shit come out. These words enter my consciousness and leave in the same instant. I don't care. I don't know what they mean and I don't really care to find out. I walk the halls at my job and my eyes just glaze over with salty tears of boredom. I care about so many other things. I love to read about history and fantasy and maps and geography and science and computers and countless other things. I spend copious amounts of time staring at wikipedia and reading random articles about self-fellatio and the battle of Iwo Jima. But if it has to do with money that isn't mine, I do not care one iota. I have more interest in taking a shit, tying my shoes and the mechanics of a paper cut.
Maybe that's part of the problem. My job is unfulfilling. But that was the point, wasn't it? To have a good-paying job I don't care about so that I could pursue my other various unprofitable interests. I thought working here would finance my dreams. And maybe it does to a certain point. But I find I'm actually doing less art than I was before. I'm writing more maybe, but I feel I haven't produced anything. I don't know. I'm trying to get a new job where I can breathe easier amongst more creative people. Like publishing or even advertising. Anything. That should help.
But that's not what I think about when I feel guilt, self-doubt and depression. All I think about is how everything I do sucks. I can't write anything which people even pretend to like. How can I be a writer if everything I write sucks? But is that just my perception? I wrote something for this magazine, and when it was posted this week, I found that the last couple of paragraphs were almost completely rewritten. Is it because they didn't agree with my viewpoint and wanted to edit it up some to be in more in line with their position? Or is it just the fact that I suck? I'm leaning towards the suckage.
But that's also my mind trying to rationalize what I feel. When I feel self-doubt, guilt and depression, it doesn't make any rational sense. I have no idea why I'm feeling what I'm feeling. My chest tightens up. Anxiety bubbles. I feel like I'm missing a deadline. A meeting that somebody called which I completely forgot about. I feel it sitting at my desk. I sometimes feel it walking to the bathroom. There's no reason for it. Which scares me even more.
I never felt this way when I was younger. I was cocky, confident and a blast to be around. Now I'm moody, mean, and unfunny. I have trouble coming up with smalltalk. I constantly think that I'm boring other people, or am just annoying. Maybe I was an asshole all along. And I'm just now becoming aware of it.
You want to hear something funny? I'm even doubting this crappy fucking post right now. I think about my audience of nil, and wonder if this diatribe will bore the non-existent people who aren't reading this blog. This crap is getting out of hand.
What do I do? Do I get drugs? Do I talk to a doctor? What? That depresses me even more. That I need to self-medicate because I can't cope. We all self-medicate I guess. I drink, I smoke. And when I do I feel moderately better. Or at least I forget my self-doubt, guilt and depressions for however long the drug lasts. Is that what Paxil does? Prozac? Should I go on Lithium, just for kicks?
Or should I just get off my ass and accomplish something?
Tuesday, October 24, 2006
But the display only has so much text available before it gets an elipse. Usually, this doesn't matter. It's only when I flip to that new show from CBS that things get a little weird and the display reads:
The New Adventures of Old Christ...
Someone please do a photoshop mockup of Julia Louis-Dreyfuss hanging on a cross. Please, for the love of Old Christ, make it happen.
Friday, October 06, 2006
Wednesday, September 27, 2006
Do you take walk-ins?
I don't have a lot of time so I'll make this quick. I'm federal agent Jack Bauer. I have to attend a wedding which takes place in less than 47 minutes. My wife has forced me here to get a haircut before that happens. I need you to cut my hair as fast as you can or my wife will be humiliated in front of hundreds of people.
Shut up lady, I don't care if you were in line in front of me. This is a matter of national security. The wedding is in a church twenty minutes from here. That leaves us exactly 24 minutes for you to clean up around the ears and take a little bit off the top. Can you do that? Please. I don't know what else to do. Thank you.
Just take a quarter inch off the top. Fine. Good. Why are you using the scissors? Just use the god damn buzzer thingy, we don't have a lot of time! I'm sorry for yelling. I'm just under a lot of pressure right now.
Quiet ma'am! Don't distract her! You can talk about your damn cat when this is all over. We have to focus on one thing. Me getting a haircut. That's the only thing that's important right now.
Square or round? What kind of question is that? It's 1:34. We're running out of time!
I don't want to hurt you, but I need you to do exactly as I say. Now just take the razor out of the astringent and shave the back of my head. No, I don't need any shaving cream. Just do it!
Now, take off this smock and step away, slowly. No, I don't want to wash out the cut hair, my suit is blond. It will blend in.
How much do I owe you? What? 20 dollars for just a trim? That's ridiculous. Here, take it. It's just one of the many sacrifices I make on a daily basis. No, keep it. That's yours.
We did it. The problem is neutralized. My wife is appeased. Thank you for all your hard work today. We couldn't have stopped this disaster without the contributions from each and every one of you. Thank you.
Jack steps out and the hair salon blows up.
Saturday, September 23, 2006
I'd love to say that I've got all kinds of wonderful pain-killers coursing through my thickened veins, but it's not really true. At first, all I had was some tylenol with trace amounts of codeine. But that crap didn't really cut the mustard. Now all I've got is crappy industrial strength ibuprofen. What the fuck happened? I thought when you got surgery you got crazy drugs like vicodine and morphine drips. What is this world coming to when the only prescription I get is for More Cowbell? Bullshit.
Tuesday, August 29, 2006
Newegg.com Public Wishlist
I've become obsessed with tweaking out my computer. It's one of the joys I have of being a computer user (the others being WOW and naked ladies.) I can upgrade and mod my hardware components and user-interface at will. Right now, I have a pretty sweet setup at home, with a large 20-inch flatscreen and a smaller 15'' tilted 90 degrees so that it's portrait-oreinted. I should take a picture and post it.
My current specs: (This is from memory, so things may be wrong or incomplete. I could edit them when I get home but that would kind of defeat the purpose of wasting time at work.)
Mobo: Biostar m7viw
CPU: Athlon (1.9 mhz, don't know model)
Ram: 1 gb (2 x 512mb) crucial pc 133 sdram
Video: Nvidia 6800
Audio: Creative x-fi platinum
Scanner: Canoscan L something
Printer: Canon cheap jobber
Storage: 2 x 120gb harddrives
Keyboard: Logitech g15 gaming keyboard
Main display: Samsung 204b
2nd display: Panasonic (it's a tv actually)
This config was mostly built in the summer of 2004 by my brother on a beach. I had been having problems with my previous build spontaneously restarting, sometimes after only 5 minutes. It was getting really annoying, especially since I found myself saving games incessantly to avoid losing my progress. Anyway, after months of me complaining to him, my brother devised a master plan. We were going ot meet our sister camping in CT that weekend and he would bring down a box and I would bring my old system with my hard drives (and all my docs.)
We met at the beach, and he plugged together 3 UPS systems for a total of 15 mins of power. He was able to manually install my hard drive and get it all working before the time limit. I took my box home and was immensely happy that I could play Morrowind and only be worried about the Assassin's Guild. The era of spontaneous restarts were over.
But here it is 2006. I added the video card and the audio card and the dual monitors, and while the machine still runs great, it has started to chug a bit. I did a clean install of windows a month ago, hoping that would help. It didn't really. So I think it's time to upgrade.
I wanted to get better, bigger RAM, hoping that would be the easiest fix. But my mobo is so old that it only supports RAM up to pc266, which is hard to find cheap because noone really makes it anymore. So I have to upgrade my mobo if I want decent ram. And I would need a new CPU because the newer motherboards doesn't support my old one. Complicated, I know, but that's the life of a hacker. I'm always living on the edge of a knife! I'm a rebel Dotty, a loner.
With these 3 components, priced under $500, I can make my system as saavy as one from Alienware or some other high-priced piece of plastic.
Try doing that with a mac, sucka!
Sorry, had to get in the obligatory zang in there.
Monday, August 21, 2006
This series in Boston can't be called the Boston Massacre. That name already describes a similar series in 1978 where the Yanks swept a four game series to take the lead in the AL East. But it's still apt here in 2006. The MFY already had a 1.5 game lead going into Boston on Friday, they leave today with a 6.5 lead after taking five games in four days and outscoring the Red Sox 49-26.
Those bastards from the Bronx dominated the Sox in every way. They came from behind, they scored at will, they held our bats quiet when it mattered. In the battle of the fens, our red-stockinged braves were killed by gunpowder and smallpox blankets by an overpowering enemy. All we can do is wave sticks and rattles on their way out of town and hope the conquistadors never come back.
In some small way, though, this series has had a normalizing effect for me. Being a Red Sox fan since I was a kid has meant constant pain. 1986 was a great example, but also the early 90s and being swept by the Athletics in the playoffs to our current 2nd banana status in the AL East. 2004 was an anomaly. Red Sox fans were able to feel happy and proud for a time. While this was an amazing feeling, deep down I always thought there was something wrong. The ecstasy of winning a championship was not a feeling I associated with my team.
So this series, this Last Stand, has torn down the statue of the World Series. 2004 is officially over. And so is this season.
Wait til next year...
Thursday, August 17, 2006
Actually, no, it ending up being about a robot named Robbie. The first Robot ever created which held sentient life. But nobody wanted him around, they said he was an abomination. So the Cybodyne Corp. made Roberta the Robot and married the two robots on national television. They even made a baby robot, Bobbie the Baby Bot, but he malfunctioned like a retarded baby. Cybodyne never did figure out why he never worked right. Years pass and Robbie has had enough of being married. So he files for divorce and the controversy starts all up again. The whole movie is told through one of those bad tabloid TV shows like Geraldo or Dateline.
I turned it in a while ago on a Saturday. That whole day was crazy. I knew I had to send this movie script in by midnight. But I wanted to visit my friend in New Haven and go on her friend's boat. So after working on the script in the morning (and leveling up my gnome mage Brandley for a few hours) I needed to get on the road. Driving on I-95 was fun, I was jotting down lines on my pad with one hand while driving with the other. I think I had the last five pages worked out, but I needed to type it up. I got to New Haven and brought my laptop along with me.
We ended up in Branford, on this marina. There were a bunch of dudes I didn't know, a 20 ft motor boat and 3 coolers full of beer. I drank a few, then it was time to board the vessel. My friend put the computer in a garbage bag, so it wouldn't get wet. All the guys knew I had a mission, so they weren't too put out when I immediately went down below (it was a big boat) and started typing. The boat was going really fast, bouncing and trouncing me all over the cabin. But I did it. I finished it up on the boat in Long Island Sound. I was so seasick by the end, I was sweating and about to blow chunks. I ripped off my clothes, threw on my shorts and jumped in the cold ocean. Luckily the boat had stopped.
We drank more beer and watched more people do watersports (not pissing.) I ended up doing the final editing back at my friend's house and sent off the final script at 11:47pm.
I wouldn't have done it any other way.
Monday, July 24, 2006
If you answered absolutely nothing (Huh! Good god y'all!), you'd be right. Or to be completely accurate, you'd have been right before you read this post.
On a whim, this past week I entered the Screenwriter's Challenge brought to you by the same folks that run the Midnight Movie madness I mentioned last November. The contest is similar to those, except instead of making a whole movie, you have one week to write a short screenplay. As I am a self-confessed writer, this contests appeals to me because I don't have to do any of that bloody producing work. I can just concentrate on writing the best thing that I can.
The trick of course is to write something that fits the genre and subject given to you before the deadline. And that's right, you've guessed it, the combo I've drawn is sci-fi and divorce. Two ideas which rarely if ever go together.
I've got a few ideas rambling around my brain. They are currently in the marinating phase. I don't know if any of them will taste any good but they need to be served by Saturday at midnight.
And no, I don't plan on putting that awful metaphor into the script.
Monday, July 10, 2006
It really doesn't make sense. It's probably the ugliest bridge in New York, on the lower roadway there is a limited view of the skyline and right now construction workers have placed a yellowed tarp over part of the bridge which looks like you're driving through a papery wasp's nest. I hate wasps, ever since I was a kid and was stung three times in 5 seconds by a sharp barbed flying menace.
But as I drive my Volvo over the disgusting span of the Queensboro (trying not to remember that scene from Escape from NY), I have a few moments alone to concentrate. It's different than laying in bed or walking down the street. Maybe it's the inebriation of a few stolen puffs, but I start dreaming. Driving forward from Queens to Manhattan is moving forward, from the low ghettoes to the flying skyscrapers. It's not unlike taking my ideas for movies, books or plays and pushing them forward from the dregs of my plotting braing into the stark dare-to-be-great reality.
That's where this post came from. Last night, while my Volvo squeeked over the bridge, I thought of listing everything I had ideas for and using it as a springboard to actually
accomplishing one or more of them. Something's been bothering me lately. I fear that I have too many ideas. Sounds stupid, I know, but I fear that I have too many projects I want to complete and that it paralyzes me into accomplishing nothing. Just look at the nouns I use to describe myself. I am truthfully a playwright, a screenwriter, a stand-up comic, a journalist, an author and a producer. My projects sometimes intersect my identities, I want to write a short film and probably produce it myself. Or I have this idea for a documentary about stand-up comedy. But I feel spread thin. I hope this list will focus my energies.
- Creation Play. This is where a lot of effort has gone lately. I have been editing and rewriting this play for over four years and I think it's ready for at least a workshop type production. I've thought to book an engagement at the Red Room but haven't had the balls to actually do it. That will change. I will have balls!
- Complete Works. This is a sci-fi play set in New York after a nuclear apocalypse. It's Mad Max meets Shakespeare in Love. I've written the 1st act, which will probably be changed. Right now there are too many characters and I need to streamline the plot. This needs to be shaped up for a reading, maybe I can set a date for that soon.
- Work. MOvie about my time at Ivoryton and the Beach club. Been finished for a while but I got some feedback from some peops and it needs to be revised. The 1st act should be completely changed and I'm thinking about deleting the voiceover.
- Untitled Freshman movie. I love this idea lately. A teen comedy set in 1992 with music by Belly, The Pixies, The Breeders and the Throwing Muses. I have the first act pretty clearly sketched out in my brain, I just need to get it down on paper.
- Gogol movie (Diary of a Madman is a bad title I think now). Mr. Savage and I wrote this a while back but it's fallen by the wayside. I started revising it again last but stopped because of personal reasons. It's too good of an idea to give up though.
- Road Trip Movie. I wrote the first act of this movie loosely based on my Brother and I driving across country in his VW bus. Needs to be finished.
- Car Service short film. I got this idea during the last film contest I did and I've been meaning to write it for a while. My Volvo makes the craziest sounds and I think it'd be funny if a guy started his own Car service in his brookyn neighborhood with a crappy car.
- Stand Up documentary. I love the stand-up scene in New York, and although there have been a few docs about the process lately (Seinfeld's comedian, The Aristocrats) I think they are ignoring the little guy, ie. me. Of all my ideas, I actually think this one has the greatest potential to make money. It's like i have the bullet point of a pitch already floating in my brain. I should move forward on this one.
- Fantasy novel(s). I've been making progress in crafting the first volume of a fantasy trilogy set in a world of my devising. After I wrote a few chapters, I relaised I needed more backstory and went back to creating more details. I think now I need to write a short story based on the world to set the page.
- Fantasy short story. I know the basic story I want to tell. It will cement a lot of details about Dwenelen. Now I just need to write it.
- Article about Penciltopia. I think my friends are doing something amazing with running programs to teach kids about stop-motion animation. It's something I think people would want to read about and it might even make me some money in the process :). I need to finish writing an informed query letter pitching the idea to good magazines.
- Articles. So far, the only money I've received from writing have been from writing about video games for online publications. I need t use the Writer's market and start coming up with ne and better ideas for articles. And then write the query letters for them.
Friday, June 09, 2006
But amongst many more senior managers, including Steve himself, I suspect there is some lingering concern about the essence of the game market. Computer games, as we've come to know them, are mostly (not always) about aggressive behavior, conflict, battle, wars of power, domination, and sometimes, in the worst cases, some very unwelcome social behavior. To put it bluntly, death and destruction. Apple's public culture appears to celebrate, on the other hand, creation and life. When you have several hundred senior managers at Apple who are most likely married and typically have children, you'll find a culture of affirmation, family, and life.What? Is that whythe Ipod Nano ships with a cannon turret shooting game? Is that why Jobs appeared on stage in 2001 with John Carmack (founder of id, maker of Doom, Quake and the progenitor of possibly the goriest, most destructive games ever created)? Besides the article being mostly untrue, pure conjecture is an apt description, it pisses me off on an wholly other level. A debate has raged in the comments section of the article, mostly pointing out how retarded macs really are and how ignoring a huge set of customers (gamers) for moral reasons is just plain dumb. I had to add my two cents, most of which has to do with the general anti-gaming sentiment in our culture that I've ranted about incessantly before. You've heard it all before, loyal readers, but I have a moral obligation to share my latest with you. That's what you come here for, after all, right? Or am I the only one who cares about this shit and you'd rather hear about the red sox and drinking on the job.
Anyway, here is the text of a comment I left on the article somewhere around the bottom of page two:
The whole article is based on the idea that games=bad.Flame away, Macboys!
This is an antiquated idea, which the overwhelming statistics posted in some comments above show. The writer shows his age and his moral bias a little too much to be considered a legitimate journalist.
But this article underlines my biggest problem with Apple, the holier-than-thou attitude that nearly every single mac user adopts as soon as they buy one piece of white plastic. Just because you use a certain brand of computer, you are not a better person.
You're not even that savvy of a consumer, because it's clear that these people are easily influenced by the image that Apple projects through its advertising.
The truth is, Macs break just as often as Windows boxes. I've seen it happen, I have a lot of holier than thou friends who complain about taking their Mac to Tekserve while praising the system in the same breath. And I'll reiterate what above posters have pointed out, if Apple had a market share higher than 2%, there would be a lot more viruses for OSX. Macs are less powerful gaming machines and much less customizable, while being more expensive. I guess the white plastic tree is an endangered species, its costs a lot to manufacture anything using it.
Friday, June 02, 2006
This is my third or fourth article in The Escapist. I really dig everything about this magazine. I love their artwork, their take on videogames as lifestyle rather than "check this shiny new gamez!" If I read one more cock-gobbling review from Gamespot or IGN or any other so called games journalism source, I'm going to puke. The Escapist is a bright light at the end of the tunnel, showing how games should be viewed on par with books, movies or TV as an important form of media.
Thursday, May 25, 2006
So let me get this straight, we, the advertisers, are NOT supposed to encourage people to click the ads. I guess it's better that we merely ignore them and hope random site visitors come to my site and want to click on a link to buying red sox tickets.
While reviewing your account, we noticed that you are currently displaying Google ads in a manner that is not compliant with our policies. For instance, we found violations of AdSense policies on pages such as http://onlyzuul.blogspot.com/2005/10/selling-out.html
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Please make any necessary changes to your web pages in the next 72 hours. We also suggest that you take the time to review our program policies (https://www.google.com/adsense/policies) to ensure that all of your other pages are in compliance.
Once you update your site, we will automatically detect the changes and ad serving will not be affected. If you choose not to make the changes to your account within the next three days, your account will remain active but you will no longer be able to display ads on the site. Please note, however, that we may disable your account if further violations are found in the future.
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I understand what Google is trying to do. They want to create a service that is devoid of fraud, where sites are paid by how much they actually contribute to an advertisers revenue. But come on, how does my little post violate anything? I'm not encouraging people to commit fraud, I just said if you're going to search, try to search from here.
Whatever, it's not like I'm really making any money with this program. I'm not going to change the post. I want to see how long it takes before they kick me out. Consider it a test of Google's merit. I'm performing due diligence as an educated consumer and you're all witnesses to it.
How does it feel to be a part of history?
Thursday, May 04, 2006
Monday, May 01, 2006
Friday, April 21, 2006
Today's assignment: Buying supplies for a (very) low budget digital film shoot tomorrow.
This was a challenge. I had at least two stops to make, over twenty blocks to walk, and only an hour to do it. I left my cubicle at 12:01pm, hoping to get back by one so that my coworker could go on her lunch date with her Indian friend. I didn't actually leave the building until 12:08pm, however, because, while waiting for the elevator, I had a sudden urge to move my bowels (2nd time today!) which may or may not have been due to the mexican pizza I ordered at 10:11pm last night.
Feeling several pounds lighter, I emerged onto the Manhattan streets at Park and 50th. I had a lot of ground to travel as I had to make it to Madison and 40th. Here's my secret weapon: I walk through crowds faster than a hippy gets high on Earth day. Which is Ironic because, unbeknowst to me, Vanderbilt Ave between 47th and 42nd was closed to car traffic because of, that's right, the Green Apple Music Festival which coincides with Earth Day. Tactical error #1 on my part was to actually walk through the music performance by some chick at a piano and the countless corporate booths giving away free stuff while telling everyone how Green they are (while, of course passing out enough flyers to choke a small blue whale.) I managed to get by the meandering hippies, average new yorkers (smoking cigarettes and blowing it in the hippies faces), and the urge to wait in line for a free Google totebag. Ooh, teh shiny!
I made it to my first stop, Film Emporium at 274 Madison Ave., Suite 204. I know what you're thinking and no, much to my chagrin, it's not a nudey booth place. My mission here was to get DV tape stock and I was surprised to walk in to the premises to find, not shelves of merchandise, but miniscule cubicles with people slaving away at them. My first response when the fat, bearded, balding and pony-tailed guy (yes, comic book guy works here) looked at me was to ask, "Is this retail?" He assured me I was in the right place and I received my 5-pack of panasonic Master Mini DV tapes after he took a short trip into the back room. I can only assume what goes on in that room, but I think that's where they film the amateur porn we have all come to enjoy on the interweb. While he was charging my card, I noticed a flyer advertising the fact that this place also sells film insurance. Talk about your one stop shop. "Get all the supplies you need to insure your film is good." They would never sell malpractice insurance at a medical supplies store. Why do it here?
A timecheck after leaving the Emporium reads 12:32 (I lost 2 minutes going back up to retreive the information for my next stop which I left on comic book guy's desk.) I was doing all right, timewise, and I hoofed it over to 46th and 3rd Ave. where Tudor Electrical Supply Co. is located. This stop was more of a crapshoot. I found the address on Google maps after searching for Lighting supply stores nearest to my workplace. I had no idea if they had what I wanted or if they even existed.
I walk in to a very cluttered, but large, store littered with opened and unopened boxes of lighting bulbs, fixtures, lamps and other electrical mumbo-jumbo. 3 guys are clustered around two messy desks somewhat in the center. They are immediately friendly, which is odd, but then I notice the open bottle of Southern Comfort on the desk and the styrofoam cups around it with their names sharpied on.
"Been that kind of a day, huh?" I said to the guy with dark hair, moustache (which doesn't look creepy for some reason) and glasses.
"The funny thing is, it was that kind of day yesterday." He pauses. "And the day before that. And the day before that."
I genuinely laugh and ask the guy about what I came for. I explain that I was looking for something portable to light a subject in a car while driving. After saying he had nothing like that, I eventually track down a 6 in. battery operated flourescent tube. I buy two of those, 2 300 watt bulbs, 2 200 watt bulbs and batteries for the fluorescents.
While ringing me up, the other guy at the desk (bald, grey, looks like the sports talk guy from Frasier) mentions queitly to moustache that they should ask me for a ting. I play dumb until the happy black guy comes up and picks up the bottle of SoCo. "You down for a ting?" he asks. "Sure." So they pour four double shots into four styrofoam cups. Happy black guy hands me one, "Don't drink it yet," he warns. When everybody has their drink, they stand and hold it out, as if making a toast. They then touch everyone else's cup saying, "Ting, ting, ting," and down the shot. Happy black checks my work, "Good, he said ting." They put down the cups and continue working. I pack up my bags, bid them all good day, and hit the streets with a warm belly of Southern Comfort.
Timecheck reads 12:51pm. Just enough time to stop and grab some lunch on my way back to the office. I weave through the crowd, the hot blonde in tight pink sweat pants walking her tiny dog (also wearing pink,) the Grand Central Partnership dudes picking up trash, the middle-eastern guys selling halal meat and falafel in the lunch wagons. I'm only stumbling a little bit due to the liquor eating away the first layer of my empty stomach. But it feels good. I love New York right now.
Carrying a fresh Subway (foot long honey oat, ham, swiss cheese, onions, pickles, olives, jalapenos and Southwest sauce) sandwich, I arrive back at my cubicle at exactly 1:03pm. Not bad. One hour. Mission accomplished. Shots drained. Sandwich eaten while writing this blog. Now I just have to wash my hands, fill up my water bottle, and begin the day again.
Thursday, April 20, 2006
This morning I resisted a strong urge to call my boss and tell him to fuck off, I'm staying home. As I snoozed for the 7th time, I daydreamed about doing nothing but enjoying the bright sunlit day. I would make a pot of strong coffee, sit on the stoop, comtemplate the movie contest I'm doing this weekend and maybe smoke a little. There would be delicious chocolate eggs left over from Easter and maybe I'd make a home-cooked meal for once. (living in New York, it seems the only things I eat now are steak fajitas, peanut rolls, and a concoction that Rain Delay and I have perfected: Ramen made with a can of soup, including the MSG packet.)
BEEP BEEP BEEP!
The damnable alarm went off sounding like some deaf doctor's demented beeper and I stumbled into the shower at 9:11am, where I'd have to bust my ass to get to work on time. Leaving the apartment, I was millimeters from locking myself out of the house without cell phone, wallet or, duh, keys. I mean the door spring clicker thing was touching metal. I walk out of the apartment without one of the aforementioned items on a daily basis, sometimes making it all the way to the subway two blocks away before I have to go back for, say, my cellphone. But this was the first time I was about to leave the house with out ANY of them. I should have known something was up, that the gods were aligned against me. After some bad train luck and an annoyingly long ride on the 4 train which involved a family of black kids screaming goodbye to somebody, I strolled in at 10:05 realising that I also left my ID at home. Where I should have stayed this morning.
It's only when I got to work and saw the date on my phone. 4.20. The day when stoners are stoners, men are men and women are women. I first heard about 4:20 in college, when it meant everything about smoking pot. I made fun of those kids, the uber-hippies with beeswax in their hair and smelly pits whose parents dropped them off in an SUV. 4:20 was the police code for dudes in the act of smoking pot, it was the number of chemicals in marijuana, it was the day bob marley died, I heard various reasons for why 4:20 was synonymous with anything pot-related. It was always a joke to me, though, it was a stereotype unto itself. I'd refer to someone in tiedye as 4:20, anyone who had the munchies or was suddenly paranoid. "4:20 Dude! I'm so hungry, what's that noise, is that the cops?" Anyone who said 4:20 without irony was an idiot, perpetuating their own negative stereotype.
But here I am, stuck at work, and all I want is a big fat bowl to smoke when the clock hits the appropriate time. Which is going to be 6:37 tonight when I get home.
Friday, April 07, 2006
Sometimes I wonder if I'm the only person in my gym who's rocking out to Weird Al's "Theme from Rocky VIII."
"So today, his deli comes first.
Still he dreams of his past days of glory.
Goes in the back and beats up on the liverwurst,
All the while you can still hear him say:
It's the rye or the kaiser, it's the thrill of one bite.
Let me please be your catering advisor.
If you want substitutions, I won't put up a fight.
You can have your roast beef on the rye,
Or the kaiser."
Wise words from a man who knows how to ski.
Wednesday, April 05, 2006
I saw this poster taped to a tree outside my apartment in Brooklyn yesterday. The pic is from the signon screen for World of Warcraft, which I've seen countless times, but the caption is something new. As far as I can tell, the artist isn't trying to sell anything. Perhaps it's some private joke amongst hipster-nerds, trying to get a few laughs from their friends who wait for the bus to Greenpoint. Or maybe it's a public service advertisement lauding the wonderfulness of WOW. But it could just be that someone was moved to make an image and tape it to a tree. I offer it up to you, the discerning internet audience, to decide. I just think it's cool that someone did it within ten feet of my front door.
Monday, April 03, 2006
There is nothing more satisfying than cranking up whatever stupid song is on the radio (or my creative nowadays) and singing/screaming along the road. It's a therapuetic thing, spending quality time with yourself and performing for no one's sake but your own. The road offers an endless supply of entertainment for me. From checking the foliage or crazy sky formations, to people-watching, to trying to find that dream house, to determining the quickest route between two points, I enjoy it all.
The five years I lived in New York between 2000 and 2005, that was only one thing I lamented about city life. I wasn't able to afford a car. Actually, I couldn't afford the freaking insurance. I don't know why some companies charged over $4000 a year to insure a crappy car in Brooklyn. Who cares if the borough has one of the highest frequencies of grand theft auto (the crime, not the game) in the country? There's no way a sane working-class human can afford that shit.
But in December 2005, several planets aligned to let me own a vehicle. My generous brother was in the market for a new car and was fairly certain he wouldn't be able to get very much for selling his 1989 Volvo station wagon. So he let me have it. Upon checking inurance quotes, I realised 3 things which drove the price down considerably.
- I was over 25.
- I was married.
- I had no moving violations in the past 5 years (this was because I hadn't owned a car, not because I was a good driver. More on that later.)
With the myriad of public transportation available in NYC, I always thought that owning a car was a superfluous endeavor. I WAS DEAD WRONG. My life has dramatically changed for the better since Sparky came into it. It's easier to get around with a car. I still take the subway to work in Manhattan, but if I have to go to a basketball game, or play D&D at night I always drive in. Parking can suck, but once you master the basics of cutthroat space scanning, you're fine. I know exactly how long 10 feet from a fire hydrant looks from a block away.
And Sparky makes weekend jaunts so much easier. In order to go to the nearest beach that wasn't Coney Island, we would have to take the subway to Penn Station and then ride an hour on the LIRR to make it to Long Beach, where meatballs white hats and skanky women (not that bad of thing really) abound. The return trips were never fun, sitting on a far too heavily air conditioned train in wet shorts while rubbing aloe into your badly burned face. But now with the car, I can drive to Jones Beach, suck in the morning sun and get back to the city while hopefully avoiding the traffic on the LIE.
I like that I have a Volvo station wagon, too. I had a bunch of friends in high school with old volvos and I will always associate them with being 18 and reckless. They have so much character. Boxy but good. And they fucking last forever. When my brother gave me this one, the odometer read 289,000 miles. That's a lot of freaking miles. After almost a year and a half, it's got 298,400. I've said that all I want to do is break 300,000 and then Sparky can die a happy death. I think one good road trip might do it.
Which is what this blog is all about. This weekend, a couple of friends and I are departing on the next great road trip of our young lives, or The Death of Sparky, whichever comes first. My only plan was to go south and chase the sun. We've got a place to stay in DC on Friday night, and then it's up in the air as to where we'll end up. I see myself on a beach in VA as the sun goes down on another Saturday. Whereever it is, it will be somewhere I've never been before, and that alone is a reason to go.
This week we'll make the preparations. I bought a case of oil (Sparky's been drinking the stuff lately,) and a wiffle ball bat. I'll throw a few tee shirts in a bag and my digital camera will have all it's memory sticks clean. There will be plenty of reading material and all three of us will have our mp3 players. I'm sure somebody will bring the evergreen and the road sodas. After work on Friday, we depart for destiny.
And we're not coming
back till the 'meter reads 300k.
Thursday, March 23, 2006
These results are staggering:
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AdSense for content
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AdSense for search
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(Goes to boss and quits job to blog full time)
Seriously, Every article I read about him in the last 3 months has got some jibe about the Sox management not giving him a boatload of cash. Cry your eyes out that the team wouldn't give you an extra $3 mil/year for throwing a freaking baseball like a girl (Damon's got a shitty arm for all those who haven't watched his fish arm not make the cutoff guy from center for the last 4 years.) We all know you're a Yankee now. We know you sold out. We know you have to cut your hair per Steinbrenner's rules. WE KNOW. You don't have to talk abut during every freaking interview.
You know, why can't he be like Bronson Arroyo? We traded him this week for Wily Mo Pena (which is a great move, BTW) but I could see Arroyo being pissy. He's someone who actually could have a legitimate beef with the Red Sox, having signed a "discount" contract last month in order to continue pitching with the Sox. But he's been nothing but understanding. He's hurt, sure, but he's not pointing fingers or calling bullshit. Bronson knows that baseball is a business and in business, there are no guarantees. Still, it's sad to see him go, I'll miss his crazy kick and I'll never forget him taking the slap from ARod in the ALCS. I hope the Reds appreciate that they are getting a solid starting pitcher with nuts the size of Saturn.
In related news, I've been reading Soxaholix pretty much daily the last few weeks in anticipation of Opening Day. It's a great little webcomic that simultaneously romanticizes being a Sox fan and mocks said fanhood, all while throwing down the occasionally obscure literary allusion (including links and footnotes.) And it's freaking funny. This little quote from yesterday's comic made me laugh out loud in my cubicle today:
Getting careah advice from Johnny Damon is like getting how to get along with your parents advice from the fucking Menendez Brothers.
Friday, March 17, 2006
But Schilling, the man not the pitcher, is a complete douche. He is loud, cantankerous and strongly opinionated, which are not necessarily bad traits. I can respect a guy who speaks his mind. But the problem is that his opinions are often very contradictory to mine own.
It started with him stumping for Bush in the 2004 election. Again, there is nothing wrong with speaking your mind, but it left a bad taste in my mouth when Schilling invoked his recent star status so quickly after it happened to campaign for a complete fool of a President. He can have his politics, he can be as conservative as he wants, but being a hero in Boston and then campaigning against the hometown hero in Kerry was in poor taste. Plus, Bush is dumb.
But possibly more offensive than Schilling and I disagreeing on Bush v. Kerry is this recent development. Now, I've known that Schilling played EQ from various sources and at first I was impressed, even excited that a professional athlete also enjoys the same hobby that I do. It basically proves my point that all videogamers are not mindless freaks. But it's his choices that I just don't understand. Why would he play Everquest 2 instead of playing World of Warcraft?
Granted, I've never played EQ2. I can't say firsthand whether it's a well-designed game or not. But from nearly every account I've ever read in the interblogoweb, WOW beats EQ in most, if not all, categories. I never cotton to might makes right. but here the sheer numbers make sense. At it's height, EQ was the "giant" of the MMO world, garnering 500,000 subsrcribers at it's peak in 2003. Within a year, WOW had 3.5 million subscribers. Now, generous estimates of worldwide subscribers are at 6 million.
Now, illustrious pitcher and part-time dork, Curt Schilling signs on as official spokesperson for Sony Online Entertainment, effectively tying himself to a sinking ship. I don't get it. WOW works on so many levels. You can be the uber raiding geek with all the best armor. You can PVP in RTS style battlegrounds. You can grind for various rep with the factions. You can quest nearly incessantly from 1-60. You can explore the deliciously rendered fantasy setting with no reward but the scenery. It's a game that appeals to every aspect of a gamer mind, which is why it is so successful. Every gamer can find something within WOW that they like.
Except Curt Schilling. He'd rather stump for a broken game from a retarded publisher who ruins everything they touch (SWG). Way to go Schill.
Friday, March 10, 2006
I heard about this yesterday, http://www.nypost.com/news/regionalnews/62943.htm.
Apparently, there was a huge organized crime ring in Greenpoint, Brooklyn, imaginatively called The Greenpoint Crew. 21 Polish guys were arrested for extortion, armed robbery and attempting to fence a Stradivarius violin to a federal agent.
I live just a few blocks from Greenpoint and I enjoy the occasional pierogy or two, but I'm a little amazed that these people can muster the moxie it takes to run this kind of organization. From what I can see, they're too busy screaming in Polish outside my apartment at 8am on a Saturday and stumbling down my street after one too many Zywiecs.
I've got two questions:
Why aren't people making a Polish Sopranos?
And where the fuck did they get a Stradivarius?
The jokes write themselves.
Tuesday, February 14, 2006
Tuesday, February 07, 2006
To be honest, I haven't had anything on my mind that I wanted to rant/write about. I mean, I think about crazy ideas all the time (like why is it every time we have a mild winter, people clamor that it's global warming in action? We've only been recording temperatures with any accuracy for the last hundred years or so. I'm sure there have been milder winters than this one.) but most of them haven't been spongeworthy. Plus, work, busy, blah, blah, blah, and the general excuses one comes up with for not doing something regularly that they should. It's not just blogging, I haven't been to the gym in 3 weeks. So not only am I an ineffectual and impotent blogger, I'm a ineffectual blogger with a fat ass.
On to what I want to talk about.
I got into a philosophical/religious email debate with a friend of mine who shall remain nameless. I won't go into the sordid (and there are many) details, but he has recently been exposed to the Wiccan belief system by a self-proclaimed vegetarian (not vegan.) He says that Wiccans revere nature, that all of their rituals and holidays are associated with the changing of seasons and other natural phenomena. The vegetarian chosses to be a vegetarian because they don't want to consume something which they revere.
I reacted negatively to this hogwash. I'm not exactly sure why. At the risk of offending my friend, I had to point out what I thought was wrong with that line of thinking. I guess I have an argumentative nature when it comes to religion. I was raised catholic, I was married in the catholic church, I'll probably die an guilt-ridden, alcoholic, child-abusing catholic, but I don't really go to church on days that don't involve rabbits, candy or trees. That being said, I enjoy arguing about theology and religion. It’s part of what defines my relationship with my mother and father, that I argue with them. It’s not necessarily a lack of respect. I think they are blind to certain truths which I believe irrefutable, and vice versa. I have accepted the fact that what they have chosen for their life is the best for them. The catholic religion has been a place of solace and comfort for my mom. It is nothing but monotony and misguided faith for me.
Wiccans seem even more misguided than catholics, if that's possible. My friend tells me that the vegetarian (it's getting harder to keep names and situations vague but I'm going to plow through it so as not to offend) is "one" with nature and cast spells, lights candles, performs rituals and sacrifices small birds. I made that last one up. See how easy it is to make fun of? I'm a big fan of fantasy and Tolkien and D&D and various dork practices, but I realise that it's all fiction. Somehow, wiccans never got the memo and believe that casting spells is how you go about dealing with life.
But besides the craziness of Wiccan, I've got issues with someone choosing not to eat animals for any supposed connection they have with them. For one, the animal doesn't care if you eat them beyond a fight or flee instinct. #2, humans evolved beyond animals by killing them. Ancient humans were able to eat more protein, which led to growing larger brains. Also, the killing of animals led to clothing ourselves in skins, using the fat to burn, and countless other technologies. To extrapolate, civilization would not have existed without killing a shitload of cows, goats and horses.
The vegetarian counters that it's okay to kill an animal if you personally kill it, skin it and consume it. Like that distinction is ok for some reason. Once again, I say that's like taking a giant step backward in human civilization. Let me explain: I’m not a hunter. I don’t choose to spend time stalking a beast, slaying it, gutting it, skinning it, hanging it, then butchering it. I pay someone else to do that. When I buy meat from a store, I am paying the farmer, the truck driver who brought it to me, the butcher who prepared it, the cashier who sold it to me and everyone else along the way who put that meat into my hands. Those people choose not to answer phones for a banking executive (who incidentally is probably connected to the subsidies which keep the farms in business.) When I buy that meat, I am trading my time for all of theirs. That’s what commerce is all about. What is wrong with that? Am I supposed to kill and grow all my own food? If that were even possible, I would spend all of my time doing so. It is precisely the specialization of different professions which brought about the growth of cizilization as a whole.
And it's exactly this kind of sloppy thinking that bothers me about the whole wiccan thing. It sounds all cool and spiritual to say, hey, I'm choosing to love nature and love my fellow man and cast spells (roll the die!), but it's also like choosing to live in a hut for the rest of your life and eat bugs. Yeah, it's possible, even tantalizing in our busy world sometimes, but we as a race have evolved past these vague superstitions.
All of this made me think about what exactly it is I believe in. It's not much, but to me, we are the only gods. Humans have learned to use their intellect and industriousness to shape our lives and carve out a comfortable existence amidst a dangerous and unpredictable world. Even two hundred years ago, natural disasters such as the Tsunami or Katrina, would have caused so much more devastation and death than they did in 2005. That is a direct result of man, not any god.
We have evolved past the idea of personalizing things we can’t control, like nature, weather, inspiration, etc. There is no God, gods or anything else out there. It's just us, baby. Just this Earth. And no amount of lighting candles, praying, casting spells, meditating, prostrating will make the superstition real.
Wednesday, January 18, 2006
Thursday, January 05, 2006
But graffittiists? Those malicious destroyers of public property? World of Warcraft is not free of them either. Here, they have marred the beauty that is an LAX bathroom stall. Those bastards! I'm ashamed to be in the same Azeroth with people like this: